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Thoughts of Maria

Thoughts of Maria [Kindle Edition]

Gregory Heath
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Gerry Thorley’s wife Rachel has left him for another man. His son Callum, who works for a PR company by day and deals drugs at night, hardly ever visits him. Now Gerry, divorced and approaching fifty, wants a second chance at love.

On the other side of the world, on the infamous Payatas dump in Manila, nineteen-year-old Maria and her family live a life of abject poverty and desperation. Picking through the filth, they earn just enough to stay alive. There seems no chance for change, until one day a young man appears with a proposition.

As Gerry combs web site after web site searching for the perfect mail-order bride, Maria and her family come to terms with the possibility that she might marry a foreigner to escape the miserable cycle of poverty in which they live. But he must be just the right man, a kind, respectful man, and a man with the means to give her a better life.

Will Maria’s future husband turn out to be an Englishman more than twice her age? Will Gerry’s new wife satisfy his needs for companionship and warmth? And what might his ex-wife and son think of Gerry’s new bride?

When the marriage is finally arranged and Maria returns with Gerry to England to start their life together, neither expects perfect marital bliss but both are willing to patiently cultivate a mutually satisfying relationship. But trouble is lurking just around the corner as Gerry’s son Callum feeds the fires of an escalating sexual obsession with his father’s new bride, and Rachel resolves to see the marriage fail, and Maria back where she belongs in the Philippines.

About the Author

Gregory Heath is a British poet, short story writer and novelist. Born in a Derbyshire hamlet, Woodhouses, he is the author of the novels The Entire Animal (Waywiser Press) and Thoughts of Maria (Open Books).

Gregory Heath was born in Derbyshire in 1967. He is widely published in the small press; his poetry, short stories and essays having appeared in magazines such as Tears in the Fence, Iota, and Poetic Licence. Staple have published him on a number of occasions and featured him in their Alt-gen collection showcasing the best small press writers of the last decade.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 270 KB
  • Print Length: 133 pages
  • Publisher: Open Books (18 Feb 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #465,814 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I'm a British writer from a little town called Melbourne, in Derbyshire, England. My poems and short stories appear frequently in literary magazines and I have published two novels.

The main theme of my work is people's inability to communicate in a meaningful way with those whom they love, and this idea forms the basis of my first novel, 'The Entire Animal', which was published in 2006 by The Waywiser Press.

My second novel, 'Thoughts of Maria', published in 2013 by Open Books, continues this theme, but also touches on wider issues such as drugs, arranged marriages and sexual obsession.

I love to hear from my readers - visit my website at or tweet me!

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Brilliant! 21 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's been a while since I couldn't put a book down but this has something for everyone. It has real characters who all have a story to tell and although the story concludes, it still leaves you hanging for that bit of information that the author cleverly holds back. A truly brilliant read, bring on the next!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, again! 20 Feb 2013
I enjoyed Greg's first novel because it was all dark, brooding, depressing and literary. This one is enjoyable in a different way. It contains all the literary genius but has, I think, more mass appeal. In short, I was gripped! Great characters, well drawn. A well crafted tale, told rather cleverly through the eyes of the main characters. I loved the way that they story unfolded from different viewpoints. It was very clever and it worked (even though they weren't always the 'thoughts of Maria')
All in all, a superb novel
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre, absorbing and brief 7 Jan 2014
I read this book in the somewhat incongruous setting of Christmas in Guadeloupe, and no disrespect to Guadeloupe is meant when I say that over the two afternoons I read it, Guadeloupe disappeared from my mind and I was completely absorbed in Heath's world of Manila and provincial England. This is a truly bizarre and engaging story, shot through with banality and psychosis in equal measure (just how I like them). Middle-aged English Gerry's 'passion' for young Filipina Maria is narrated with the most remarkable restraint and slightly deadened good sense, whilst his ex-wife Rachel's bitterness and resentment over the various catastrophes her depressive narcissism has caused never cease to chill the reader. And through and around these parental automata swirl the alternative narrative voices of young Callum and Maria herself -- intimates, in a way (and it's a sick way), but, like everyone else in this sharp novella, destined never to really meet. This is a great read, highly recommended.

Andrew Asibong, author of Mameluke Bath
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you gripped from start to finish... 22 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Thoughts of Maria
This novel has a multiple narrative structure allowing the reader to see into the minds of each and every character as the storyline is unveiled. Each character speaks in turn, in each short chapter. This style is very cunning and keeps you gripped from start to finish making it incredibly difficult to put down.
I must say that I have never read a book that has been set out in this way before and I found it incredibly refreshing. In particular I was impressed with the way the novel begins at opposite ends of the world. At one end we meet Gerry, a middle aged divorcee who has lived a typical modern and complex life. Looking back he feels his family values somehow got lost along the way and he regrets he does not have a better relationship with his son. At the opposite end of the world we meet Maria from a more simple way of life in the Philippines. Here, family values are at the most important and instead of a fast paced walk of life, living on a dump, Maria and her family are merely thankful for surviving each day, staying positive and hopeful for a better life. Gradually these contrasting lives are brought closer and closer together where they meet in the middle where the storyline could really go in any direction.
This novel is an excellent piece of literature, which shows the differences in cultures and displays a major contrast between wealth and poverty. The reader receives a great insight into the horrifying truth of life on the Payatas dump. The author’s description sends vivid images that are so convincing I could picture myself there, experiencing the hell. When Maria’s thoughts take her back to her home country and the disaster that occurred on the dump, she reminisces of the candles glowing in memory of the lives lost on the dump slide.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Original story and very good book............ 4 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story is very plausible and contemporary. Well written with good research into the country where Maria came from. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang on Thoughts of Maria 26 Mar 2013
hiannon Jenkins Tsang reviews Thoughts of Maria by Gregory Heath.

This is a wonderful tale of loneliness, and Western society's obsession with financial success contrasted with the naked poverty of parts of the developing world. It is subtly crafted.
After Gerry a middle aged English surveyor divorced, he decides to remarry. As he brings the young Maria back from the Philippines as a "mail order bride" tragedy looms. His drug addict son develops sexual fantasies about Maria while his ex wife Rachel plots revenge.
Heath's accessible prose disguises a real gift for creating dynamic characters out of what could so easily have turned into a clichéd plot.
The book is composed of short chapters written in the first person, alternating between the points of view of the four main characters. Thus a compelling narrative is created out of the tensions between the various confessions of the characters, of which the omniscient reader, alone, is aware. I could not put the book down
Heath is a gentle wordsmith, who beautifully conveys complex and powerful emotions with simple language. His descriptions of life on a Manila rubbish dump are particularly vivid.
The intervention of the fifth voice of Gerry's father in the latter half of the novel upset the balance of the narrative somewhat for me. Perhaps it worked as a kind of deus ex machine providing an optimistic counterpoint to a potentially bleak ending. But I was not convinced by it.
Thoughts of Maria would make an excellent radio play. It is deceptively simple, and equally powerful. The characters never say what they really feel. Perhaps there is something of us all in this story. It raises questions about the way family and friends often react when someone steps outside the box to which we they imagine we have been assigned. This is a thought provoking and rewarding read.
(C) Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang 25th March 2013
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